Thursday, June 23, 2011

Honor the Dead

Gen. 50
Two deaths, two burials, two last wishes left for others to carry out. Jacob and his son, Joseph, have specific instructions for what they want done with their bones after they die. It takes the whole chapter. Why? How important can it really be to fulfill a last request? The person is dead, after all. What do they care?

Several weeks ago, I watched "The Art of the Steal" which documents the systematic, legal plundering of a man's private art collection by the City of Philadelphia. The collection features the best of impressionistic painters like Renoir, Cezanne, Matisse, and Picasso. Valued at about 25 billion (yes...that's billion with a "b"), the original owner left very specific instructions about what he did and did not want to happen to his collection after his death. Sixty years later, every specific has been violated. But why would he care? He's dead, after all.

So why does our sense of justice scream, "Foul!" Why does God devote an entire chapter to the last wishes of two patriarchs? Putting on my very theological cap, I think the point is that, even if the dead are not around to care any longer, God cares. And because He does, we'd better.

Until next time,

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